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What a first two days

I have said before and I will say again I am very lucky to have local Capt Brent Kindell running my fishing holidays in the Florida Keys during the summer.  Brent first came to the Keys in 1988 with his dad who had just retired and wanted to spend more time fishing so the Keys just ticked the box and Brent soon became a very good first mate.  So when Brent finished his education it seemed the natural thing to do turn his passion into a job and start a fishing charter operation taking his growing local fishing skills to the next level.  When John Mason contacted me about a summer lads holiday I was more than happy to have Brent guide for them for the week, John was in the Keys June 2012 but it became soon very clear you do need a guide to get the best out of the Keys.  As I have found over the years it is all about knowing where to go and what to do when you get there, there are so many options and so many fish and methods to fish, Brent has now been fishing these waters for 26 years and you can’t buy experience.

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Not much text to go with the first two days of John’s trip but by looking at the photos he is sending me John, his 83-year-old dad and his 17-year-old son are having a blast with Brent coming up with the goods as I knew he would.  Nice to see he is continuing our tiger shark theme for 2014, poor Lee had to wait 10 years for one and John has had one on his first trip.  The lads had a mess of amberjack on their first day so Brent’s policy must have been hurt them on day one then the rest of the week is easy.  Also on this theme they must have asked for big so Brent got them a goliath grouper in the 100’s of pounds, guess Brent is just ticking the boxes just like me.

Year review part two Tarpon

Back to my review of the year after a short busman’s holiday fun and belive it or not it is how I wind down after a year of doing fishing holidays in the Florida Keys I go fishing but just as a guy on some one else’s boat.  So part two tarpon, as you may or may not know tarpon and the Florida Keys go together fish and chips in fact it was the fish that put the Keys on the map as the go to destination to tick the box.  Tarpon as I have said before have been doing this migration run through the Keys for thousands of year but to see the sea alive with hundreds of 100 lb + fish still takes my breath away after all my years of being in the Keys.  This year was different to normal most guys put it down to the weather, a very hot start to the year then a series of cold fronts one after the other and like a lot of fish on migration runs it is the temps that control so fish I guess a little confused.

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When the main run started it was strange less fish at our 7 mile bridge but numbers further down at Bahia Honda just off the scale, now I prefer 7 mile  ( a lot less concrete ) but I is my job to find fish so a lot more trips to Bahia Honda.  The advantage of Bahia Honda is as it is deeper you can fish all day and this year there were so many extra fish you did not even need to be near the bridge however most fish went straight back to it.  We even did a 2 for 2 one day, two takes and two fish back to the boat despite the huge sharks that always follow the tarpon and this year for the first time for me they were killing for fun try telling a tree hugger that but we witnessed it more than once.  Also this year less tarpon trips not sure once the box has been ticked it is harder to get up at 3 am, or my guys are now ten years older, or it can be a two-hour spectator sport but this 60-year-old skip was just fine with that.

Busman’s holiday take one

First sorry to interrupt my review of the year blogs but this week I have been ticking my boxes for a change and what does a guy do who runs fishing holidays in the Florida Keys do when he has some down time of course he goes fishing.  First trip was a morning on a very private lake in pursuit of tench old golden eyes and this year my first ever trip on a punt with good friend  Mr Big Fish, Lee as my skip just for a change.  Stunning lake and being able to fish into the lilys just awesome lots of memories flood back as a lot of us guys I started of on lakes and rivers and seeing a float rise and then slip away still does it for me.  Not the best of weather but we still had a good day, bream from the start and yes a tench for me so one box ticked and a massive thanks to Lee who in return now wants a huge sawfish on his next trip to the Keys.

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Next box was black bream from the sea, again these fish bring back memories to show how mad I was way back, Martin and I rode our bikes nearly 30 to Brighton, rowed out an old clinker wooden boat fished for bream then rode back hardcore or what.  Well despite Martin telling me due to tides it was going to be a 5 am depart from Littlehampton I was well up for it so 3.45 pick up at hotel just lots of espresso from that very cool 12 volt machine.  Soon on our mark and the guys at the back of the boat bagging up with just a few for us at the front and Martin dropped a good conger for his friend Ian but a good scrap and he touched the leader.  Tide turned then I started to bag up as well nothing huge but solid little fighters in the 2 to 3 lb range and yes of the 14 I landed I took 3 and gave one to the wife’s parents and boy did they taste good thanks Martin box ticked as well.

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Have to say a few words about the boat Lady Ann out of Littlehampton a cracking clean and well-kept boat just right for the job, skipper Keith with a constant supply of coffee just ticked all the boxes as well.  If you find yourself on the south coast get in touch with him on 07990 915695 or email at keithseafurl@aol.com and I am sure he will put you on fish.

Katherine the great ( white shark )

I forgot to mention on my last blog for all you sharkalholics that the Florida Keys has recently had a ” swim by ” from a radio tagged great white shark.  Katherine as the reasearch team called her was caught and tagged last year on August the 19 th near Cape Cod on the north-east sea board of the US.  She came in at a very impressive 14 ft and a weight of 2200 lbs and soon after tagging started a very impressive swim south, what I found amusing that the week Lee who has our big fish record and was once again out with us she decided to come to Marathon and swam the closest to the Keys.  Just the trip as she went round Key West was nearly 2000 miles since tagging as she has now gone north and is in the Gulf of Mexico near Florida’s panhandle just amazing.

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Today I start my rounds of busman’s holiday’s and again my first is with Lee after my beloved tench, yes I know all year-long I do big and mean but the sight of tench bubbles and the float just sliding away is the perfect wind down after a mad year in the Florida Keys.  Lee’s last week in the Keys was just epic as I have blogged for the last few weeks and it will be strange to see him not sweating with a big fish and one of his reels just screaming drag, fingers crossed.  Then it is on for a day at sea with Martin my oldest and best friend for over 50 years. We are going to target bream and bass on very light tackle both old favorites of mine and bring back memories of when Martin and I would cycle 20 miles to Brighton row out 3 miles then bream fish row back and cycle home mad or what.

Year review part one Shark

My year  goes from Sept to June but our Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys are now all year-long if you find yourself all Disneyed out this summer get in touch and I can put the happy face back on.  Brent my local Captain who runs Fish the Dream during the summer is having a blast with the dorado and tuna will blog all about him but he is a local and all my guys give him top marks.  So how as the shark fishing been over the last year well just of the scale many, many big fish and what a year for tiger shark.  Not sure why but we have had tigers nearly every week no monsters all around the 200 to 300 lb mark but if you love your shark fishing tigers just tick so many boxes.  Sporty shark we now have a mark just yards from the shore often turn a day and on very light rods these fish normally black nose just scream drag and don’t beat up the angler.

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Also this year again not sure why a lot of very big bull shark many way over 400 lb and if you consider they are mostly taken in less than 12 ft of water they can only go one way.  Bull of the year has to one that took half a ballyhoo and on just 40 lb line took a long time and a lot of following to get to the boat well done again Ian.  Lemons ever where as is the norm its the long first ( have I enough line )  run which lets you know you have a lemon control the first run and then the fish is yours.  Again massive hammerhead have come to the boat, poor Ben had a very full on welcome to the Florida Keys shark fishing ended up tired but smiling.  For me though whether it’s getting to 60 or just the joy of seeing a fish airborne the blacktips and spinners  tick my box as they do for many guests that sight of a 100 lb shark giving a sea world display stays for long time.   Shark of the year has to be Lee’s tiger ticking his box after ten years just what any skip wants, two fun video clips again from Lee’s epic week.

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1000 lb + last day

Well it happens to quickly and it seems even quicker on a fishing holiday in the Florida Keys you start your last day’s fishing.  After Lee’s party tough day offshore I was more than happy that they wanted to end on a day’s wrecking deep in Florida Bay.  Now as most of you know it is very hard and I have done it but the boys wanted to go back to the barracuda wreck and maybe have a few more permit as they did on their red-letter day during the week.  So load the boat to the gunnels to cover all the options and truck north for nearly 20 miles,  well the wreck gods on our side no one there and as we looked for cobia the sight of 30 lb cuda gets the blood going.  Soon Lee had a stunning fish in the boat but the permit did no want to play so after the day before  I took a bit more charge and said that today we were not going to spend the last day not catching so up pick and move.

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Second wreck not the mass of fish I wanted so why not try the first wreck we found goliath grouper and always had fun with jacks and other fish.  On arrival fish everywhere the screens just full first cast with a lure a jack and this was followed but good blue fish just like bass but with a sett of teeth a piranha would be happy with.  So started a very full on day grouper near 200 lbs shark well over 200 lb and just what I wanted screaming reels and happy anglers.  In fact more than once two jacks on a single lure and often the lure was hit as it touched the water not even having to reel in.  The only down side of the day was a massive hammerhead in the chum slick but despite trying all the baits we could it would not feed, maybe just a teaser to get the guys to come back yet again, I am more than sure it will not be the last time I hear their drags scream.

 

Wrong call ?

Firstly I have to say sorry to everyone who has emailed me over the last three days after the worst trip back ever from the US  in nearly 20 years at 29 hrs door to door and being hit twice in the night by the frigging trolley, bad connections, stacking, landing away from the terminals, having to exit Heathrow and renter to get next flight stuck on bypasses  the list just goes on and on.  I always tell myself that pain is normally temporary and things get better or may be it is my normal problem of flying the wrong way or just getting to 60 or a mad and very full on last month fishing but it has taken me a whole two days to over it all.  Well back in the UK for my hurricane and summer break but as last year Fish the Dream is still offering fishing holidays in the Florida Keys just a different Captain and a bigger boat. We  started this last year and Capt Brent had a blast he is a Florida Keys local and has more places to go than me and runs Fish the Dream just as I do fish when you want, for what you want and as long as you want so just get in touch if you are going to be in Florida this summer.

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Back to Lee’s trip last week and the blog title  ( which I was thinking about before reading Henry Gilbeys blog ) how spooky is that it was the penultimate day and the guys wanted, permit on the bridge ruble, amberjack on the deep wrecks, dorado on the way to the humps then tuna and some deep water shark.  Well I told them that this year all the permit on the rubble have been taken on or just before first light with none after full sun but the vote was no early start so after nearly two hours of not catching permit, Lee lost a big fish, it was off to the amberjack wrecks. The one frustration I have with fishfinders is that they often show stacks of fish but often these fish are not feeding, big fish in my opinion do not feed 24/7 and this was the case on this wreck Lee did have two fantastic snapper stunning food fish but not the amberjack they had here on a previous trip.  Again we spent to long not catching and started the long run to the tuna grounds to late and the seas were getting nasty so we turned round to try some more deep wrecks but again no joy on the jacks.  So should I have been more assertive  and put my foot down and played the grumpy old skip, no it was their choice and that is how I run the holidays give advice and then it is up to the party to make the choice.